Unfortunately, we have experienced several student deaths (due to car accidents) over the last few (4) years. I am continually thrust into the middle of supporting people… School Staff, Parents, Students and even other Youth Workers and it continually impacts me in two ways:
1. Why aren’t our higher educational institutions (colleges etc) giving training to future Youth Workers and School teachers more training on dealing with tragedy in the school? We offer training on how to deal with a person wanting to shoot up a school, and prepping for the state government testing but not dealing with death due to accident.
2. Why aren’t we as Youth Workers more engaged in the community (principals, councilors, community leaders, non-church kid parents, etc..)? Can we carve out time in our busy schedules to meet quickly with those people.
I have a couple of simple thoughts that might help youth workers, teachers and random caring adults in dealing with the loss of a teenager due to accidents.
1. Please please please realize you don’t need to or are required to know all the answers. We as adults often feel like we have to know everything but we do not.
2. I think being present makes a big difference and being a great listener is adding the icing on the cake.
3. Depending on the relationship you have with the person and school, I would encourage you to ask how you might be praying for the person. This is a simple question that in most situations (hospital visits, etc.) will give you a heart beat of where the person is emotionally and what they need.
4. Do not forget to minister to the teachers and adults in the situation. We think they have it going on, but in most cases they have a connection with the student and need to be supported personally so they can support the other students at the same time.
5. Please refer to #1 … you don’t need to know all of the answers…
I am sure there are more ideas that can be added to this list but I really feel these are a good base to launch from. God will give you the ability to minister in the moments that we feel equipped.
I pray these accidents never happen in your life and community but in reality they are accidents and accidents happen.